Culinary Nirvana Takes Center Stage

 

(From Zen And The Art Of Culinary Maintenance by J. T. Hilltop)

Working in a restaurant at age 14 was more than just a J.O.B., it was a spiritual transcendence. It was being part of something that lifted an entire staff of “Restaurant People” to a higher plane. At that impressionable age I was fortunate enough to find myself in the employ of Cavalieri’s restaurant in the socially envious position of pot washer. Four nights after school, and Saturday nights, I was the head pot washer. But, being the envy of my high school buddies was short lived when I discovered that the “head pot washer” had nothing to do with pot and even worse, I wasn’t really in charge of anything other than some sudsy water that involved way more than merely washing pots. I was also permitted, implored even, to use my hands to scrape and clean the organic food remnants and other indefinable residues left on the plates by our satisfied customers. So it was that this head pot washer was cleaning everything that anyone found so objectionable it was left on the used plates in the restaurant. Poised at the suds busting helm I decided that I was going to be the best Goddam pot washer they ever had.
On one particular night an epiphany of sorts smacked me in the head so I felt compelled to let everyone in the kitchen know my lofty intentions of becoming a black belt in the art of pot and pan scrubbery. When I told the chef, the sensei, the absolute ruler of the kitchen of my plan I was certain he would beam with pride. I really looked up to the chef even though he was so old. Man that dude must have been in his 50’s. I believe he always worked hard and the years had been kind to him, although not without consequence. Deep furrows stretched into spaghetti lines across his face, and he always seemed to be deep in thought even when he was drinking. I noticed he was quite fit for an old dude, and he was deceptively strong. Crazy coot could throw 50 pound bags of potatoes halfway across the kitchen with ease. Sometimes directly at me! He always wore a dirty and tattered black bandana which concealed the badly receding headline and his eyebrows sported the thickest hair he had. Like angry caterpillars on steroids those eerie brows housed some very dark and serious eyes. Eyes that narrowed instantly at the first sign of anger. Like holy shit man it wasn’t only the eyes but that bulging vein that stood out and threatened me personally. Eyebrows that said grab a scour pad you insignificant piece of shit the are dirty pots to be assimilated. Every second I prayed it wasn’t the angry face that was building up inside his maniacal mind but the funny one. Not siree it was not the anger I was about to get a full emasculating dose of. He looked me directly in the eyes and with his most compassionate paternal demeanor his eyebrows alloed his eyes to tear up as he laughed uncontrollably. A laugh that came all the way from the balls of his feet. In between his deafening guffaws the chef attempted to tell his sous chef Andre what my intentions were, and that was met with a roar of laughter that could cause a soufflé to fall to it‘s knees. Regardless of their snickering daggers of contemptuous chuckling I maintained a stiff upper lip, and decided I would take charge of my own soapy destiny.
The fuck with them! As empowering as it may seem it wasn’t the joy of busting suds for a living that kept me coming back. It wasn’t the dream of one day being admired, no revered as the Chef Ultimate, the absolute ruler of the kitchen. It wasn’t that soul warming food, it wasn’t even the lure of the attractive and flirtatious waitresses that continually tempted my teenage libido with a false sense of possibilities beyond imagination. No, there was something else about this experience that taunted my inner Cheshire cat. They paid me money so I could but weed.
So despite all the bad karma that seeped out of the sink drain I thought nothing could possibly drag me away from the restaurant industry. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be the Chef, and become a raving lunatic who screams at anyone dumb enough to stay within ear range of my booming voice. An insane Guru who proudly sports a tall white hat accentuated by a bulging forehead vein that popped out with ease whenever challenged. A slightly touched man who is permitted by law to carve carcasses with an array of razor sharp knives of all sizes. I can’t help thinking how proud that would make Mom and Dad. Oh the hell with the Stock Exchange Mom, I wanna make Chicken veloute and dine of foie gras. Trade in the stock market returns for recipes. I want to carry big ass knives around. My gastronomic voyage would be completed once I became the all powerful illustrious Chef
Anyway that was the dream. Truth be told the restaurant industry simply jumped up at me and shouted “This is it” Este Este Este!!. This is what you ask? It was the people, the “restaurant people”, an almost cosmic group of mix matched misfits. I was spellbound by this diverse group of dedicated individuals who work together in a form of impromptu performance art centering around biodegradable remnants of the tastiest and most orgasmic morsels of nutrition I had ever indulged in. Each person plays an integral role in this drama. Like an experienced stage hand I set up the props over and over so the chef could turn organic ingredients into edible works of art, perfectly arranged on the plate I had cleaned. Our lead waitress, Laura would put six of these recently cleaned, now presently food adorned plates on a large oval tray, also cleaned by yours truly, and with swanlike grace effortlessly carry it off to be placed in front of some more than likely alcohol saturated patrons. The patrons would then eat the wonderful dish of blissful organic delight, inadvertently leaving something on the plate that would eventually become my responsibility. The waitress would entertain them with a variety of skits, ranging from cute and flirtatious to downright suggestive. The performance continues. Meanwhile, backstage the chef, Jimmy ( his given name was too hard to pronounce) is performing voice exercises and using my deer in headlight eyes as his focal point. Rapidly building to an everlasting crescendo I listen intently to the chefs advice, disregarding the part where he assures me I should either procreate with myself or leave this God forsaken establishment. Or die. Sufficiently emasculated, red-faced, and disenchanted, I returned to my potsink in a highly evolved state. Taking a “the show must go on” attitude, I needed to ready myself for the onslaught of table remnants that our patrons found objectionable. In walked the lovely leading lady, flashing me that piercing knee buckling waitress smile, and began emulating the chefs thunderous performance. Thankfully, it was not directed at me, but rather on the only person here that was truly as lowly as I am, Rod the busboy. Now I got an opportunity to view my peer’s reaction to a brutal lexiconic workover, so I might hone my anti-beration skills for the next portioning of verbal abuse. It would not take long, and I unfortunately had little time to study my new mentor, so I was left to my improvisational skills. The burning narrowed eyes of my dream vision, the waitress, met mine and for just a few seconds held me in a frozen state. While flashing her signature seductive smile, Laura’s eyes softened, and in that songbird like voice, she asked, “JT, will you set up my next tray?” With a wink, she was gone, the busboy was fighting back tears, the chef was deciding my fate, and I of course, was oblivious to anything that didn’t involve setting up Laura’s tray like it had never been set before. As the chef pondered the proper selection of various swear words and insults in his bi-lingual assault ability to more effectively crush my spirit, I arranged Laura’s tray smiling silently. The chef began to explain to me who I was working for, but fortunately for me his lung busting performance was interrupted by the appearance of anther equally as enigmatic presence. The next character to enter, stage left, was a tall, tuxedoed, and very suave Frenchman bearing the title of restaurant manager. Didier. Didier’s job, as I understood it, was to make the entire cast so miserable we would reach deep down to our inner selves and come up with the performance of a lifetime. I wanted to reach deep down and pull out a Smith and Wesson but then again, I was young and impressionable back then, and of course a pacifist commie bastard, so I did indeed find myself motivated by the threat of that French penguin. Not to mention another opportunity to allow Laura to know that I may be way young, but I am also an awesome dude willing to please. Didier began to roar at all of us, and yet then again, to no-one in particular. It was delivered in a language foreign to me that sounded oddly complementary. Rod the busboy assured me that those seemingly sweet words that came thundering out towards the entire cast were in fact foul vulgar French slang that could make the onions break down and cry. As Didier loudly and cantankerously explained to us how important it was that we comprehend the significance of his tirade most of us merely trembled. Even Jimmy looked worried when Didier was in the kitchen. Oddly the only one that was not intimidated was Laura, my fantasy vivacious waitress, who seemed to render our fearful leader speechless using only her eyes. Or was it her gorgeous thighs? No matter like the Wicked Witch of the West Didier disappeared in a puff of smoke. Or maybe Jimmy was burning something, I really don’t remember. But he was gone, Laura’s tray was set to absolute perfection, Rod the busboy had regained his composure, and Jimmy was ready with the next round of tantalizing treats arranged in artwork on my clean plates. All had performed admirably in Act I, but Act II is yet to come. Rush hour, when the dining rooms reaches maximum capacity, the pressure elevates, tempers hone their skills, and back in the kitchen the shit really hit’s the exhaust fans..
TBC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doing A Few Lines, And Line Cooks

after mimi

Potsink Diaries
Leaving Mimi Dee’s was hard but I had to do it. I was smoking way too much weed, I had affairs with three women and got caught. I got too close to the edge having cheated myself out of a great relationship with a great chick. Carrie would never talk to me again and honestly I didn’t blame her. If I wasn’t stuck with me I’d never talk to me either, but it is what it is. Or was. I found myself in a new relationship with a new job so now and its time to man up and act like an adult. Me, an adult? Not sure that can work but I had to at least give it a go. I applied for and got a job as line cook at Moonleaves, a family restaurant in Syosset not far from Mimi Dees. I say line cook. At Moonleaves that had two meanings, one was the cooks line where my sauté station was. I had four entrée’s and two appetizers to prepare and plate during service. The other line cook was all the cooks doing lines. I never saw so much white powder in my life! It was as though the entire staff snorted a gram a day. Pot, pills, and cocaine flowed so freely it was more like a drug mart than a restaurant. Dishwashers, busboys, waits staff, cooks, just about everyone in the kitchen did drugs and the manager was a raging alcoholic too drunk to notice.
The amount of total degradation there was astounding, cooks banging waitresses in the storeroom, oral sex among the glass racks, even an area specifically reserved for gay sex. You could watch, partake, or just ignore, your choice. It was the Sodom an Gomorrah of the restaurant world and this was the mid 70‘s, the decade of decadence and drugs. Pot was smoked constantly out by the dumpsters, pills were exchanged openly, lines of coke were cut on sheet pans, and in the walk in refrigerators soup pots of screwdriver and gram jars of cocaine were at the ready. “Freeze Break” meant someone was running into the fridge to take a hit of blow an a swig of vodka and OJ. It’s a wonder we ever got a single meal out let alone get through service of a hundred and forty dinners a night. So much for a serious relationship, I fell into it like a pro, screwing every waitress I could and having my clock cleaned orally twice a week. Yea, line cook and head waitress were ironic terms at Moonleaves.
Even though I was engaging in so much extra curricular I also had begun to actually hone some cooking skills learning to make sauces a la minute and handling a constant litany of ordering and picking up of my food items. I was finally good at something and actually enjoyed doing it, a win-win. Pay for play. I had gotten so good at my station I helped out on the grill when it was overwhelmed, and the other line cooks when they needed a hand. The sous chef was ecstatic because it meant less work for him so he could go back to the glass racks where he would find non culinary satisfaction.
By early December I was beginning to fall apart from all the sex and drugs. I lived with my girlfriend Janet who enjoyed the weed and coke as much as I did. I always reserved some of both for home. It was becoming harder and harder, or sometime not hard at all, to perform sexually with Janet between my indiscretions and the coke both. The staff Christmas party was just around the corner and I could only imagine what a sick fucking party it would be. There wa sure to be tons of party enhancers and lots of parking lot sex. I resisted as best I could at Moonleaves when sex was offered but in the end I wasn’t the most faithful of lovers. No way I could bring Janet the party to meet the waitresses I have been with. I know Janet didn’t like me working there, and for good reason she was jealous. I was juggling it all really well, barely balancing sex at home and Moonleaves by never allowing the two to overlap. Repeated requests to meet my “friends at the restaurant” were deflected and redirected. Janet wasn’t stupid and even though I was a “strapping young stud” I could only handle so much. Besides, a girlfriend always knows, whether it’s the distant scent of perfume from a tryst hours ago or just the way we kiss. Putting passion into a kiss is like a fingerprint to a woman, and Janet was quite a woman. “JT, either you take me to the Christmas party to meet your friends or I’m going to eat there everyday.” Trapped like the rat fink I was.
I needed to figure out how to keep Janet from the restaurant. My two separate lives were on a collision course and the explosion would surely destroy both worlds. A plan was hatched. Let me just put a touch of perspective on this, I have hatched an enormous number of plans and from that maybe a handful have worked in my favor. This one had all the earmarks of being amongst the majority of failures. What logic I found in asking Janet to marry me as a way to get out of this would confound Einstein. But that was the plan, to buy a ring, ask Janet if she’ll marry me, an tell her we could get married sometime next year. I believed it would give me time to figure out a balance. Now I just had to figure out how to balance the news to Trudy, the waitress who sort of became my work girlfriend, the one waitress I had become exclusive with at Moonleaves. I know she is planning something huge for us at the Christmas party that involved a jello bath and some Quaaludes so I decided I could wait until after the party which now Janet won’t feel a need to go to. I’ll tell her its not a “party” party but more like we all just sit down to dinner together. Weak at best, but I was convinced of my own schmoozing abilities.
Janet was prepared for the usual argument surrounding Moonleaves and the staff party so it caught her totally off guard when I handed her a small box. Her eyes lit up like stadium floodlights, “What is this? JT……What’s in the box?” Girlish excitement was building as her face took on a kid at Christmas look. “Well…..why don’t you open it and see.” Her hands shook fumbling with the box as I positioned myself on my knee in front of her timing my request in perfect unison with the opening, “Janet, will you marry me?” She jumped up screaming, her hands flailing wildly, “Oh my God yes, yea of course JT, of course I’ll marry you.” We embraced while Janet allowed tears to flow freely, tears of happiness and even I got caught up in the frenzy. After kissing me a dozen times or so I became unimportant, “I’ve got to tell my Mom, and my sister, and…” She rattle off a number of her besties while the depth of what I had just done sunk in. Jesus shit, what have I done? Not sure I thought this one through.
Janet and I made love that night, with extreme emotion and reckless abandon. It was the wildest sex the two of us had in a very long time. Four times before we finally collapsed in exhaustion. The party had not come up in conversation once and now I’m not so sure I played this right. I will most likely need to opt out of the party all together to concentrate more on how to keep work and home separate on a more permanent basis. I would need to tell everyone at Moonleaves I was engaged which would change things drastically. I could still do the drugs, but the sex had to stop. Maybe it was for the better anyway.
The second I got to Moonleaves I was prepared to tell everyone of my wedding plans, but Trudy had other idea’s. Trudy was a hot an very sexy chick, not the kind of girl you bring home to Mama. With long straight jet back hair and the sexiest eyes alive! She wore a ton of make up which she didn’t really need because she was real pretty. But the make up made her look intensely sexy, like the woman that grabs you by your libido and forces you to surrender to her will. Thick black eyeliner, huge curled eyelashes, a deep blue swatch above each eye and the reddest lipstick around coating some naturally thick succulent lips. HOT! She put her hands up to my chest, looked deep into my soul with eyes smiling that sex smile that melts my loins. With a playful kittenish demeanor she pushed me toward the glass racks. I should resist, this shit has to stop. Too much drugs and I know Trudy thinks we are boyfriend and girlfriend even though she knows I live with Janet. I mean she lives with her boyfriend so its not like we would ever be together as a couple. That’s it, no more! She pushed my back against one of the racks and I grabbed her cheeks tilting her head up to mine to tell her we can‘t do this. Oh my God she looked so hot and vulnerable. Before I spoke a word her hand wandered down my stomach to my jeans as she undid my belt, then the zipper. Before I knew it I was rock hard on the racks moaning while Trudy gave me the most incredible head ever. When she finished me off she raised her head, kissed me with an open mouth an I hungrily swapped spit with her. “Mmmmm, that was good baby, see you after my shift?” I was no longer thinking no more, I was thinking lets do it again Trudy. “Of course baby, I’ll get a room after service.” I gotta quit this job!!!

Experienced Waitress wanted (hopefully and up and comer!)

“Is That A Rolling Pin Under Your Apron or are You Just Happy To See Me?”

My very first restaurant experience was enlightening in many ways. I was hired to ensure the sanitation of the entire establishment be maintained throughout the dining experience. I proudly bore an exalted title than made me the envy of my school. “Potwasher,” a title that’s far more demeaning than the inoccent name would imply. But fuck it man, I didn’t care. Other friends had jobs in deli’s, gas stations, or retail stores and shit. They had easier jobs, but I had something they didn’t. Easily accessible alcohol, fun loving dudes to joke around with, and HOT waitresses.
So there I was, at the suds busting helm of a sink full of soapy water smiling away at all the hotties. My raging sixteen year old hormones were smiling too. Even the older waitresses were HOT. I quickly learned of the extra advantage of apron wearing which could conceal my budding enthusiasm. Cuz the waitresses were HOT! I used the traditional three compartment sink method, wash, rinse, and cold water to cool my jets in. It wasn’t just that though, I was accepted.
Most people who are “Quirky” out on the fringe of society at age 16 get made fun of a lot. That or run off to the circus or carnival to blend in with other “freaks” But not this young lad, I headed straight for the restaurant life. Working at a restaurant was a religious experience for me. I was like holy shit man, there’s people here even weirder than me. A good restaurant is filled with artists. Struggling actors, singers, comediennes, and writers. That was mostly in the front of the house but I was back of the house. Apparently they don’t get along in many establishments. I can understand the old fuckers in the back of the house but the young chefs? Don’t they see how HOT the wait staff is? Some of the staff were gay, but if guy on guy sex was up my alley I would have bent over backwards for those hunky servers. Dressed just as revealingly as the female counterparts the gay waiters were HOT too. Some so hot I may have considered switching sides from time to time, but the sea of sizzling sexy waitresses was way too plentiful. And HOT.
I loved the way the older waitresses flirted with me and I think I looked good in crimson red when they made me blush and laughed about it. The unflattering white cook shirt really complimented my reddened face. I didn’t care because I was in a kitchen and I could handle the heat and my perseverance paid off one particular evening. It was a tediously slow Monday night and the manager decided to let Kat, the thirty something head waitress close the restaurant. Kat was a divorced women with long blond hair in a shag cut that made her look younger. Deep blue eyes were highlighted by thick mascara and her eye shadow bore an even deeper shade of blue. I used to wonder if she was a model when she was younger, but I was a pup myself and somewhat naïve. She had the perfect face for a young boy to fantasize about, wearing more make up than she needed and pouting oversized lips painted gleaming hot red. Fantastic legs with bulging muscles even in her ankles. I spent many a break following those legs around the kitchen dreaming while trying not to get caught looking.
The chef and cooks broke down and left even before then, so it was just me and Kat in the restaurant. Kat was one of the women who loved to flirt with me to get me mumbling and flustered and goddamn was she good at it!. This Monday night she walked into the kitchen with her skirt higher than usual and asked me if I wanted a drink. I replied indeed I would and she told me to come on out to the bar and She’ll “give it to me.” I watched as she left the kitchen not able to take my eyes off her legs. Had to check the apron to make sure it didn’t reveal my own tightened muscle that had formed below. All clear so out to the bar.
Kat was behind the bar with her back to me. She turned around and caught me staring at her ass and smiled, “See something you like Hon?” I smiled weakly and thought to myself “Oh yea, I see something I really like.” As if she read my mind she grabbed two rocks glasses and walked over to me. “How bout this Hon?” She handed me one of the glasses. I drank half of it straight down in one fast gulp. “Easy Hon, you don’t want to go too fast.“ There was a throaty tease to her voice, but more obvious was the tease as she gently rubbed that muscle I was talking about. The blood shot up to my face so hard and so fast I thought someone hit me. With her other hand she reached up and unbuttoned three of the buttons of her blouse revealing three quarters of her smooth breasts barely covered with a thin flower print bra. She had my undivided attention. My apron muscle stood at attention as well. I pulled the apron string and let it drop to the floor. I launched a near attack on her breasts but she grabbed my hands, “Easy Tiger, no need to rush.” She skillfully undid my shirt and pulled it off an began sucking on my nipples, “This is how you do it Honey, nice and easy.”
The adrenalin that shot through my body was electric shock therapy. I never even thought women sucked on guys nipples but I was a fast learner. I returned the sensual gesture and paid total attention to her breasts, lovingly applying my tongue on her nipples. I could tell she liked it because she was making soft moaning noises of approval. I was so focused I barely even noticed that she had undone my pants. I pounded down whatever was left in the rocks glass for a little bravado. It went down easy yet burned all the way. I struggled out of my pants an underpants and Kat led me to the lounge and laid me on a cushioned bench. She remove her stockings and panties but not her dress. She just hiked it up an straddled me. Her skilled hand directed my heat seeking misle inside her and pumped away furiously. It felt so unbelievably good my inner self was ablaze and transcending rapidly. My entire circulatory system sang, danced, then gathered in my penis and threatened to make it explode violently. Kat slowed her pace as she moved up and down with artful slow rhythm and now it was me making sounds. I moaned and groaned and claimed my allegiance to god over and over as Kat just kept moaning simply “Yes, yes, Yes, oh yea.” Suddenly she got very loud and screamed “Oh god, here it is, I‘m coming, I‘m coming!” and then a AHHHhhhhh, that began really loud and got softer and slower by the second. Hearing her orgasm brought me to the breaking point. I exclaimed loudly “I think I’m gonna come,” but the warning was too late as I exploded my hormonal syrup, every last drop of it deep into her. The two of us lay there panting and moaning and panting some more. Like needles and pins blood pumped through my face and I fell in love for the very first time that very second!
Of course it wasn’t real love, Kat had zero interest in love especially with me, but I could feel it. I knew I was in love. We had sex a few more times after that night, mostly in her apartment. Kat never once made it feel awkward at work, I never bragged to anyone so no one knew what we did. One day something came up and she had to go back home to Kansas. I would never see her again, but neither would I ever forget her.
Kat schooled me in so many things, but nothing so expertly as pleasure, both how to please and how to be pleased. To this day looking at a waitress makes me horny and reminds me of my carnal adventures with Kat. I know she never loved me, that I merely served a purpose for her for a while but that’s okay. I would fall in and out love a hundred times more and have plenty of sexual adventures. Kat did way more for me than I ever could for her and she may be the true reason I fell in love with restaurants to begin with. I’ve had a great career as a chef and have my share of excurions so intense they would make Kitchen Confidential seem lame. I’ve been loved and been in love. But nothing will ever compare to the love I got from Kat the waitress. Thanks Kat, wherever you are!